Ownership of electric vehicles has skyrocketed in recent years. About 32% of all automobiles on the road are predicted to be electrified by the year 2030. By 2035, that percentage is anticipated to rise to 45%. The Biden Administration’s recent climate-focused bill included many of the main climate-forward efforts that will come along with this greater acceptance. Additionally, the state of California recently declared a historic move in line with the forward momentum surrounding the purchase of electric vehicles. By 2035, the state intends to ban the sale of all new gas-powered vehicles.
While it is encouraging to see tangible progress being made in protecting the one and only planet on which we all as a global population inhabit, it is crucial to understand that owning an electric vehicle is not without its share of drawbacks. Owning an electric vehicle has many benefits and drawbacks, just like everything else. That is particularly true now because the US is still largely adapted to sustaining internal combustion engine vehicles. In order to determine if having an electric vehicle is currently realistic, we deemed it necessary to examine both the benefits and drawbacks of doing so. Find out if you belong to the group of people who ought to own an electric car right now by reading on.
OWNING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE: THE BENEFITS
Since so many individuals choose to own electric vehicles, there must have been some compelling advantages that persuaded them to do so. The most obvious benefit of electric vehicles is that they don’t emit any pollution, so let’s start there. This is excellent for the environment. Therefore, it makes sense that people who care about the environment would incline toward owning electric vehicles. Beyond what is initially apparent, there are a plethora of other advantages.
LESS MAINTENANCE AND MORE EFFICIENCY
In comparison to gasoline-powered vehicles, electric cars convert energy far more efficiently. The typical conversion rate for gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the US Department of Energy, is only between 12 and 30%. On the other hand, EVs can convert roughly 77% of the electric energy they have stored. Accordingly, as EV designs advance, they will eventually be able to outperform even the most fuel-efficient ICE engines. New EVs nowadays can often travel 200 to 300 miles on a single charge. Ranges are predicted to rise substantially in the upcoming years.
The fact that they require maintenance far less frequently than gasoline-powered vehicles is another benefit of electric vehicles. This is so because ICE engines are more complex than those in electric cars. Additionally, oil changes are not necessary for electric vehicles. Additionally, they don’t require new filters or spark plugs. Additionally, since EVs’ braking systems rely on the engine’s resistance, brake pads don’t need to be changed as frequently as they would in conventional cars. Overall, compared to owners of ICE-based vehicles, owners of electric vehicles may anticipate paying roughly $330 less in annual maintenance costs.
Electric engines are naturally silent. As a result, electric vehicles are substantially quieter than those powered by internal combustion engines. While some people love the sound of a revving engine (which Chevrolet is attempting to imitate with its electric muscle vehicles), there is something quite enticing about driving in a super quiet interior.
On a larger scale, highways dominated by electric vehicles will emit significantly less noise pollution than roads currently dominated by ICE vehicles. Consider how much more serene it may be to walk through city streets and hear birds chirping instead of the constant buzz of motor engines. In addition, there would be significantly less need for unattractive sound barriers on roadways. How wonderful it would be for individuals living in densely populated regions to rediscover natural noises that have long been muffled by the country’s reliance on gas-powered automobiles. To be fair, that doesn’t mean honking horns and road anger will go the way of the dodo, along with engine noise.
MARKET PERFORMANCE AND DIVERSIFICATION
As much as traditional automobile aficionados despise admitting it, electric vehicles can function admirably on the road. Top-performing EVs can readily compete with many internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The Tesla Model S Plaid, for example, is said to be capable of going from 0-60 mph in under 2 seconds. Even less performance-focused models that would appeal to the typical person are extremely happy. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 SE, for example, can reach 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Rivian’s R1T truck and R1S SUV can reach 60 mph in under three seconds.
Furthermore, as the number of people interested in electric vehicles grows, so do the varieties of electric vehicles available. Ford, Honda, and Toyota have all announced intentions to introduce numerous types of EVs to their lines in the coming years. The introduction of Ford’s F-150 Lightning is one such feature that has fueled demand in electric vehicle ownership. Unlike Tesla’s elegant and high-end vehicles, the F-150 Lighting is aimed at typical F-150 owners. It is a workhorse and is designed with those who utilise them in mind. Nick Schmidt, a farmer in rural Michigan, is one of those who bought the F-150 Lighting specifically for that purpose.
THE CONS OF OWNING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE
Even with all of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle, there are some drawbacks to consider. Electric vehicles are far from ideal, from charging issues to unanticipated environmental consequences. Many of these critics are responsible for making electric vehicle ownership unfeasible for many Americans.
INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGING AND RANGE ANXIETY
The status of the charging infrastructure in the United States is maybe the most significant disadvantage. It’s completely deplorable. Accessible chargers for electric vehicles are few outside of big metropolitan regions. Rachel Wolfe, a Wall Street Journal reporter, learned this firsthand when she chronicled her voyage from New Orleans to Chicago, including all of the grief and hardship that came with it.
Her trip not only needed substantially more preparation (to account for range and charger locations) and took significantly longer than the same trip in a gas-powered car, but many of the charging stations she intended to stop at simply did not function. This is simply unacceptable. Her experience should deter practically everyone from investing in an electric vehicle.
Fortunately, the Biden Administration’s latest measure intends to immediately address these deficiencies. However, until that happens in any real way, electric car ownership will continue to be hampered by a lack of chargers, which contributes to range anxiety and, ultimately, hinders practicality for many.
Extreme temperatures have a substantial impact on the operation of electric car batteries. Anyone considering purchasing an electric vehicle will undoubtedly desire a steady and dependable vehicle. However, this is doubtful if the individual lives in a location prone to excessively hot or cold conditions. Watch the video below to learn more about how severe temperatures might affect battery performance.
If the battery in your electric vehicle needs to be replaced, it will cost you money. And it will cost you a lot of money if the car’s battery is not covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. A replacement battery will typically cost between $4,000 and $5,500. Certain batteries, however, can cost more. A Chevy Bolt with a 66 kWh battery, for example, costs roughly $16,000 to repair. In addition to the replacement cost, labour and installation fees will be charged. These range from $1,000 and $5,000. In the worst-case situation, replacing a battery may cost more than $20,000 USD. This could be a major turnoff for many people.
BATTERIES WITH LITHIUM-ION
The batteries used to power electric vehicles are lithium-ion batteries. And, while electric vehicles are better for the environment, mining for the lithium in the batteries that power them is not. Lithium mining is a highly destructive process. The mining process could result in soil salinization, soil erosion, landslides, and/or harmful pollutants being released into the air, depending on the method used. Water is also employed extensively in lithium mining. This is not only dangerous since much of the globe is experiencing or will soon experience a water crisis, but there is also a potential that those contaminants will end up as vapour particles in the water supply.
Although lithium mining is not practised in the United States, it would be neglectful (and just cruel) not to examine the impact that this activity has had and will continue to have in other regions of the world. Fortunately, there are other suitable lithium-ion battery options available. It’s only a matter of convincing more businesses to accept and create these alternatives. However, given how long it has taken electric vehicles to enter the mainstream, replacing what is known to work would be considerably easier said than done.
While the initial cost of electric vehicles remains a disadvantage, it is constantly decreasing. The Nissan Leaf, Mini Cooper Electric Hardtop, and Chevrolet Bolt are currently available at the low end. For the 2022 model year, the starting costs for these vehicles are $27,400, $29,900, and $31,500, respectively. In comparison, the average cost of a new gas-powered car in 2021 was roughly $46,000. Given these data, it is apparent that electric vehicles are becoming less expensive and more in line with lower-end gas-powered automobiles. This is fantastic! This is what has to happen in order for more people to consider purchasing an electric vehicle. However, the EV market at the lower end remains severely underserved. With only three cars priced under $40,000, prospective buyers are still limited in their options. As you move up the pricing scale, your options become significantly more extensive and diverse. This needs to change in order to persuade more folks to buy an EV.
Based on the advantages and cons, it’s evident that owning an electric vehicle isn’t something that every American should contemplate. That will not happen unless the charging infrastructure is considerably extended and more economical solutions are widely available. Having said that, owning an electric vehicle may be a viable option for some. If you reside in a city or a city suburb where EV charging is convenient and reliable, purchasing an EV is a good choice. It’s an even better idea if you don’t intend to leave your city bubble very often. In addition, due of the inherent higher demand in major metropolitan centres, gas prices are frequently higher. Having an electric automobile would eliminate this expense entirely. Overall, while there is a growing market where having an electric car is a realistic option, there is still a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome before owning one becomes practical for the majority. That being said, I intend to get a Rivian R1S as soon as I am able.